Plan a Safe Public-Land Hunt


You’re readying your camouflage, patterning your shotgun, and scouting your hunting spot. They’re all signs that one of the most exciting times of year is upon us: spring turkey season. You may set up on your own land, on a private hunting lease, or, like many other hunters, head to a nearby public hunting area. Before you head out to hunt public land, check out the following tips for planning your next public-land hunt and staying safe.

Tom Hughes, NWTF assistant vice president of conservation programs, turkey hunts on public ground.

“No matter how hard you may have scouted an area, if you pull into the area that morning and another vehicle is there, you already know another hunter is possibly in the area you wanted to hunt,” Hughes said. “It is far safer to move to another location to avoid any interaction during the hunt.”

Be aware the turkey sounds you hear may not be coming from a turkey.

“You should always set up and call as if another hunter may be in the area,” Hughes said. “Make sure you have a good sized tree at your back, and if you use decoys, place them at a 90 degree angle to the side you most expect a turkey’s approach so you aren’t directly in line with the decoy.”

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Shannon Rikard
Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.